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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2000): Child Welfare - Overseas

AFTER SAFETY, WHAT IS THE GOAL OF CHILD WELFARE SERVICES: PERMANENCY, FAMILY CONTINUITY OR SOCIAL BENEFIT?

K P Barth

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 8, 1999, p. 244-252

Child welfare practitioners in the US often emphasise family continuity, that is, the opportunity to maintain contact with the biological and extended family members, as a key decision making criterion. Paper argues that this consideration should not be paramount, and that children who cannot return to their birth parents should, for preference, be permanently placed, ie adopted, by families with sufficient financial, social and interpersonal resources to help the child achieve self-sufficiency as an adult.

CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT: THE IGNORED COMPONENT OF WELFARE REFORM

J L Wolk and S Schmahl

Families in Society, vol. 80, 1999, p. 526-530

Argues that the child support enforcement provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 are a crucial component of welfare reform and will contribute significantly to raising thousands of women and children out of poverty.

CHILD WELFARE IN THE UNITED STATES: POLICY, PRACTICE AND INNOVATIONS IN SERVICE DELIVERY

D Brooks and D Webster

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 8, 1999, p. 297-307

Child welfare services in the US are fragmented and often react to problems in a residual, after-the-fact manner. This is inherent in the compartmentalised nature of child welfare in terms of its separate components for emergency response, family maintenance, family reunification and permanency planning. An innovative concept of child welfare is needed that acknowledges the complexity of the problems facing children and their families and offers an integrated, 'joined-up' response.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND CHILD PROTECTION: A CASE FOR INTEGRATION

P Hudson

Community Development Journal, vol. 34 1999, p. 346-355

Community development undertaken by specialised agencies has been in decline in Canada for two decades. The trend in family policy is towards increasing regulation of families at the expense of supporting them. Paper inquires into the possibility of child welfare agencies filling some of the vacuum left in community development practice on the basis of closer ties between their community development programs and their child protection functions. In this way the system can respond to the increasing impoverishment of its clients and their communities while simultaneously asserting a more effective helping role in its child protection services.

CREATING COMMUNITY: A CASE STUDY OF A MONTREAL STREET KID AGENCY

J Karabanow

Community Development Journal, vol. 34, 1999, p. 318-327

With the adoption of free market economics and neo-conservative policies by governments worldwide, grass-roots organisations are playing increasingly important roles in the lives of marginalised populations. Paper explores the implementation and development of one such local initiative: Dans la Rue (on the Street), an emergency street kid shelter in downtown Montreal. By merging locality development with a commitment to social action, Dans la Rue fostered an empowered Street kid community.

DOES LOSS OF WELFARE INCOME INCREASE THE RISK OF INVOLVEMENT WITH THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

K Shook

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 21, 1999, p. 781-814

This analysis is based on administrative, survey, and qualitative data from a study of welfare recipients in the Chicago metropolitan area. Results show that respondents who lacked employment income when 'their welfare grants were reduced faced greater odds of child welfare system involvement than those with intact grants and those with employment income, controlling for various child welfare risk factors. In the light of these findings, a discussion is offered on the potential impact of welfare reform policies on child welfare systems.

GROWING UP IN GERMANY: A NATIONAL REPORT

L Krappmann

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol. 7, 1999, p. 223-228

For the first time in Germany, a report in an official series commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Youth focused on the conditions under which children grow up. Presented numerous recommendations and suggestions that envisage a culture for growing up which would provide a concerted network of measures, relationships and institutions to support children's education and development in family, neighbourhood, day care and school, as well as through diverse cultural and play activities and sports programmes.

THE POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF WELFARE REFORM FOR OLDER CAREGIVERS, KINSHIP CARE AND FAMILY CONFIGURATION

J D Berrick, B Needell and M Minkler

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 21, 1999, p. 843-864

Paper offers an overview of welfare reform legislation in California and provides data on the size and characteristics of older adult households on AFDC in that state. The implications of the new law for relative caregivers both within and outside of the welfare and child welfare systems are discussed.

SUITABLE HOMES REVISITED: AN HISTORICAL LOOK AT CHILD PROTECTION AND WELFARE REFORM

L Frame

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 21, 1999, p. 719-754

Article looks at the relationship between family welfare and child protection services in the light of TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). There are currently concerns that welfare reform will intensify the poverty experienced by already fragile families and push them over the edge into child neglect. It is argued that the best service will be provided to such families if there is some degree of functional and philosophical separation of welfare-to-work and child protection. Welfare-to-work services would concentrate on improving the parents' capacity to enter and remain in the labour market, while child protection would monitor parenting quality.

TRANSITIONS FROM AFDC TO CHILD WELFARE IN CALIFORNIA

B Needell et al

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 21, 1999, p. 815-841

Probability matching software was employed to link AFDC histories for children with birth records, child abuse reporting data and foster care data. A total of 63, 768 children entering AFDC between 1990 and 1995 in 10 California countries were followed to determine subsequent child welfare involvement. Within 5 years of AFDC entry, 27% of children had child abuse referrals, 22% had child abuse investigations, 8% had child welfare cases opened and 3% were placed in foster care. Results suggested greater likelihood of child welfare contact among children who entered AFDC as infants, were born into large families, had low birth weight or birth abnormalities, of belonged to single parent households. Continued research to identify additional risk factors and evaluate the impact of welfare reform on 'at risk' children can assist service providers to develop preventive interventions and target them.

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